Zanthoxylum fagara, better known as Wild Lime, is a perennial flowering shrub or small tree that is native to southern, dry, and arid climates of southern USA and Central America.
It also goes by the names Lime prickly-ash, Colima, and Corriosa. Despite its common name of Wild lime, the plant is not a part of the same genus as real limes and other fruit (though it does belong to the same citrus family; Rutaceae).
Zanthoxylum fagara is classified as a spreading shrub or small tree that can grow up to 23 feet tall (7 m).
Lime Prickly Ash at Highlands Hammock State Park photograph by Homer Edward Price.
It grows irregularly-shaped branches with pinnate leaves that grow to a length of about 2 inches (5 cm). Plants carry yellow flowers that bloom in early spring, and blackish-blue berries.
The perennial plant is usually grown as an ornamental shrub or small tree for the yard or garden.
Some people also grow this plant for its edible leaves, bark, and fruit. The leaves and bark can be crushed to make a bitter-tasting spice, and the fruit can be eaten to give a numbing sensation, similar to that from a Szechuan pepper
Zanthoxylum fagara grows best in hardiness zones 9 to 11 and requires a moderate amount of maintenance.
It prefers to be planted in a location with full sunlight, but it is tolerant of partially shaded areas.
The small tree is receptive to most soil types, the only requirement being that it is well-draining. It requires a low amount of water, and the soil should be allowed to dry out before being watered again.
Regular pruning of Zanthoxylum fagara can be performed for a more managed look, or to keep the plant in a smaller shrub-like form.